Ilmenau start-up project NOVU wins final tickets at Demo Day of STIFT Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia

AI spin-off project NOVU prepares for VC investments

At the Demo Day on March 16, 13 start-ups of TRIP Class 21/22 pitched their acceleration results and future visions in front of the innovation community, State Secretary Dr. Katja Böhler (TMWWDG) and partners of the Thuringian Regional Innovation Program (TRIP). A total of nine projects were able to secure a final ticket; the Ilmenau-based start-up project NOVU, led by Dr. Sherief Emam, was also among the finalists.

Thomas Müller/STIFT
The TU spin-off project NOVU was selected for its AI solution for the early detection of breast and lung cancer in preparation for venture capital funding under the Thuringian Regional Innovation Program (TRIP).

Over the next three months, the winners will be prepared for venture capital financing with workshops and coaching sessions. In addition, the teams will present their startups on June 14 and 15, 2022 at the Investor Days Thuringia, one of the largest startup events in Germany.

NOVU aims to use artificial intelligence to increase the efficiency of cancer detection by personalizing the diagnostic process, thereby improving patient survival rates. In addition, the international project team is committed to accelerating the adoption and diffusion of artificial intelligence in the medical field. With the help of a standardized framework for the use of AI algorithms, currently existing market entry barriers for innovative business models are to be reduced.

The interdisciplinary founding team of NOVU is composed of graduates of the TU Ilmenau and international experts.

It received the EXIST Gründerstipendium 2021 and was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as well as by the EU and ESF.

The team was additionally accompanied by the start-up advisors of the Ilmkubator start-up service of the TU Ilmenau and mentor Prof. Thomas Grebel, Head of the Department of Economic Policy at the Faculty of Economics and Media.

Christiane Kilian from STIFT opened the event at Mehnert Lab's Erfurt Innovation Space and shared insights into the current TRIP Class. Dr. Katja Böhler then welcomed the TRIP community:

Thuringia has been among the leaders in the quality of start-ups nationwide for years. This is not least due to the broad-based start-up support in the Free State. The TRIP program not only enables new ideas to become sustainable business models, but also makes it easier to raise the necessary capital.

Since its inception in 2019, 39 teams have already been funded through the program and successfully networked with investors. Collaboration with other players in the startup ecosystem, such as the startup services of Thuringia's universities, also plays an important role here.

In addition to the NOVU project, the Jena-based start-up Coachwhisperer was also able to secure a place in the final TRIP class. Its hardware developer and CEE Hendrik Thiedke completed his studies in electrical engineering and information technology at Ilmenau Technical University and co-founded the student workshop UNIKAT. In 2020, he participated with his own project idea in the Ilmkubator Class, the intensive support program for particularly promising start-up projects at TU Ilmenau, which was launched by the Ilmkubator start-up service.

Philipp Tschakert and Anna Marie Meisinger were also able to present their business idea for the start-up project Gravity Garden (formerly HeyHerbert) to a wide audience at Demo Day.

The team had qualified for the TRIP Class in November 2021 and received an associated ticket, but could not solve a final ticket with it.

Their indoor gardening solution aims to make it easier to grow herbs at home. Gravity Garden had also applied from the Ilmkubator Class to the more advanced accelerator program TRIP.

Last year, two university spin-offs, eCeramix GmbH and AI-UI GmbH, had already participated in the TRIP Class and made it to the finals.

In November 2019, the Thuringian Regional Innovation Program (TRIP) was launched by the Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research Thuringia (STIFT) as part of the ThEx innovativ project to strengthen Thuringia's startup community as well as to network actors in the innovation ecosystem. Annually, TRIP advances innovation-driven startups with a focus on investment readiness. This year's thematic focus was on the transformation of structures, processes and new ways of thinking. For the first time, the focus was on the automotive and mobility industry, but other disruptive innovations are also supported. TRIP is funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics as part of the ThEx innovativ project, with resources from the European Social Fund (ESF) and state funds.

Further information underTRIP andNOVU


Laura Martin

Ilmkubator, Division Research Service and Technology Transfer